Calgary

Stanley Cup makes its way to Innisfail, Alta., hometown of Colorado Avalanche assistant coach

It was a special day for Ray Bennett, assistant coach with the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, as he brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Innisfail, Alta.

'Everybody wants to be with the Stanley Cup once in your life,' says local resident

Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Ray Bennett, right, brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Innisfail, Alta., on Monday. Local residents like Rob Hamill, left, got a once-in-a-lifetime oportunity to stand next to the legendary trophy. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

It was a special day for Ray Bennett, assistant coach with the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, as he brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Innisfail, Alta. 

On Monday, hundreds of local residents lined up outside the Innisfail Twin Arena to take a picture with the legendary hockey trophy, which the Avalanche won this year. 

The team's assistant coach grew up in Innisfail, about 100 kilometres north of Calgary, playing minor hockey and graduating from the local high school in 1980. Bennett also used to play with the Innisfail Eagles senior hockey team.

Bringing the cup home was very special for Bennett.

Bennett says it was an easy and quick decision to bring the Stanley Cup to Innisfail after his team won the trophy. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

"I'm proud to have been raised in this community," he said.

"When the opportunity came to bring it back here after we won, it was an easy, very quick decision," he said. 

Bennett started coaching in the NHL in 1999. He spent seven seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, then 10 with the St. Louis Blues before joining the Avalanche for the past five seasons. 

Chance of a lifetime

For many residents who lined up to see the cup, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they had to take.

Everett Olsen said he heard Monday morning that the cup was coming to town, and he knew he had to get to the arena right away. 

The Stanley Cup, which dates to 1892, made its way to Innisfail on Monday. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

"Everybody wants to be with the Stanley Cup once in your life," he said. 

Rob Hamill, another town resident, said he went to Red Deer College with Bennett in the 1980s. Hamill said getting to stand next to the cup feels special for any Canadian.

"As a kid, you never got a chance to see the cup, so it's kind of cool," he said.

As for Bennett, this moment of having the trophy is one he will cherish.

Innisfail resident Everett Olsen says everyone wants the chance to see the Stanley Cup at least once in their life. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

"It took me 23 years of coaching in the NHL to get the opportunity to raise it over [my] head," he said.

"You do not take it for granted."

With files from Dan McGarvey

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now